With the full support of Gov. Hickenlooper, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is refusing to fully honor the U.S. Supreme Court’s Feb. 9 stay on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
Republicans in the legislature are trying to stop the agency from wasting taxpayer dollars pursuing a plan that’s not required by any federal environmental mandate, nor authorized by Colorado statute.
The U.S. Supreme Court halted implementation of the Clean Power Plan because the 27 state plaintiffs met the court’s two conditions for granting a stay — proof of “irreparable harm” in the absence of a stay, and likelihood of eventual success on the merits.
Yet, in a recent committee hearing, a CDPHE spokesman confirmed that the agency is still making plans to implement the EPA’s Clean Power Plan rules despite the absence of any timetable or legal mandate for submission of state plan.
In response to CDPHE statements, Republicans on the Joint Budget Committee sought to eliminate the specific costs the state will incur in the 2016-17 budget by implementing the Clean Power Plan. When that motion was blocked by the committee’s Democrats, Republicans blocked the entire budget of the administrative unit responsible for the unauthorized, wasteful activities.
It’s important to understand that we are not talking about blocking or impeding all agency work on clean air standards. Republicans are targeting only the agency planning activities specific to meeting the requirements of the now-suspended EPA plan.
Unfortunately, Democrats are refusing to agree to the modest budget reduction of about one-tenth of 1 percent in the agency budget. Instead, they are holding the entire clean air division budget hostage.
The governor’s zealous commitment to the EPA plan is illustrated by a statement in his March 25 interview on Colorado Public Radio:
“We have been one of the more aggressive states saying ‘we don’t care what the Supreme Court says about the Clean Power Plan,’ we recognize we want to have the cleanest air possible.”
What the governor is saying is that regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court says or does, he is going to implement the EPA’s plan.
This sounds like an Obama-like usurpation of legislative authority because neither Congress nor the Colorado legislature has authorized the specific measures found in the EPA hoax called the Clean Power Plan. The problem is that the plan is not about obtaining “the cleanest air possible,” it is about meeting federally imposed carbon emission goals on a federal timetable, goals which, by the EPA’s own admission, will have only a negligible impact on clean air in Colorado.
The state’s elected legislators must reply: No, the legislature has not authorized those measures. Send us a plan and we’ll consider it; but you’re not President Obama, you can’t do it unilaterally.
Sadly, in light of the governor’s stubborn disregard for the U.S. Supreme Court stay, the General Assembly has no alternative but to step in and exercise responsible oversight over a rogue agency being allowed to follow in the footsteps of a federal rogue agency, the EPA.
Colorado Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg represents Senate District 1 and is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 4/5/16